Vitamins & Minerals That Complement Each Other | Donaldson

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By Colleen Bush, RDN |

Vitamins & Minerals That Complement Each Other

Understanding How Certain Nutrients Perform Better When Paired Together

Vitamins & Minerals That Complement Each Other

While individual vitamins and minerals play essential roles in the body, their effectiveness can be amplified when strategically combined. The following are examples of specific vitamins and minerals that complement each other, which can lead to enhanced absorption of each nutrient and better health outcomes. 

A Quick Note About Getting Your Nutrition From Supplements vs. Food

While supplements help fill nutritional gaps, we often urge patients to obtain their vital vitamins and minerals from whole foods. Whole foods provide a complex matrix of nutrients, fiber and beneficial compounds that work together to promote overall health. Supplements should be seen as a temporary solution and not a substitute for a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains — unless otherwise suggested by your healthcare provider. 


1. Magnesium & Vitamin D

  • Benefits: Magnesium assists in the activation of Vitamin D, enhancing its benefits for heart health, mood stabilization and sleep.
  • Food Combo: Blackened salmon salad with berries and pecans.

2. Vitamin D & Calcium

  • Benefits: Vitamin D enhances calcium absorption, crucial for bone health. Vitamin K2 further helps by directing calcium to bones and away from arteries.
  • Food Combo: Grilled tofu with kale and sesame seeds, a meal rich in both nutrients.

3. Vitamin C & Iron

  • Benefits: Vitamin C improves non-heme iron absorption from plant-based foods, helping prevent iron deficiency anemia.
  • Food Combo: Spinach salad with strawberries and poppyseed dressing or teriyaki steak with bell peppers.

4. Vitamin B12 & Folate

  • Benefits: Both are essential for red blood cell formation and DNA synthesis, and they work together to maintain proper brain function.
  • Food Combo: Whole grain cereal with fortified soy milk or just a few free-range eggs. 

5. Omega-3 Fatty Acids & Vitamin D

  • Benefits: Omega-3s can enhance Vitamin D’s absorption, promoting better heart and immune health.
  • Food Combo: Sardines with a side of avocado and leafy greens.

6. Zinc & Vitamin A

  • Benefits: Zinc helps transport Vitamin A, necessary for immune function and vision, from the liver to other parts of the body.
  • Food Combo: Whole grain rice with charred bluefin tuna and roasted tomatoes. 

7. Selenium & Vitamin E

  • Benefits: Selenium enhances the antioxidant effects of Vitamin E, protecting cells from damage and reducing inflammation.
  • Food Combo: Turkey avocado wrap with spinach or simply a handful of Brazil nuts which contain an ample amount of both nutrients. 

8. Vitamin C & Vitamin E

  • Benefits: These antioxidants negate free radicals damage and regenerate each other, enhancing their effectiveness in protecting cells from oxidative stress. 
  • Food Combo: Mixed fruit salad with citrus fruits and nuts.

9. Vitamin K & Calcium

  • Benefits: Vitamin K aids in binding calcium to the bone matrix, preventing bone density loss.
  • Food Combo: Creamy fettuccine with brussel sprouts and mushrooms. 

10. Potassium & Magnesium

  • Benefits: Both minerals work together to support cardiovascular health by maintaining normal blood pressure and muscle function. 
  • Food Combo: Bananas with a handful of almonds or salmon with roasted sweet potato and asparagus.

Vitamins & Minerals to Combine Sparingly

  • Calcium & Iron: These minerals compete for absorption in the intestines, which can reduce the efficacy of both; this competition can also result in constipation, diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms.
  • Zinc & Copper: High levels of zinc can interfere with copper absorption and vice versa, which can lead to numbness and weakness in the arms and legs. 
  • Vitamin E & Vitamin K: High doses of Vitamin E can potentially interfere with Vitamin K’s role in blood clotting.

 


 

About The Author

Colleen Bush, RDN, LDN, IFNCP, is the lead functional dietitian at Donaldson. She utilizes the latest dynamic diagnostic testing solutions to get to the root cause of her patients’ health concerns before creating customized lifestyle plans that will help them achieve optimal health. Colleen also believes that education and understanding the core principles of nutrition are necessary for living a long, comfortable, and healthy life.

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